United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
576 F.3d 1290 (2009)
Philip Cushman (plaintiff) was a Marine during the Vietnam War. In January 1970, the Marines honorably discharged Cushman after he sustained injuries to his spine. Cushman underwent four surgeries for his injuries. The Portland Outpatient Clinic (Outpatient Clinic) diagnosed Cushman with a postoperative ruptured intervertebral disc. The Outpatient Clinic’s last entry in Cushman’s medical record stated: “Is worse + must stop present type of work.” Cushman filed a request for total disability with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) (defendant) based on his unemployability. The DVA denied his request. After two hearings and a number of appeals, Cushman discovered the medical record in the possession of the DVA Regional Office and Board was different from the medical record kept at the Outpatient Clinic. The version kept by the Regional Office and Board had been altered to read: “Is worse + must stop present type of work, or at least [ ] bend [ ] stoop lift.” The altered entry also noted Cushman was applying for reevaluation of his back condition. Cushman challenged two Board decisions denying him total disability benefits. Cushman argued the decisions contained clear and unmistakable error because they were based on altered medical records that understated his disability. The Board denied the appeal. Cushman ultimately appealed the determination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, arguing the DVA denied him a full and fair hearing in violation of his due process rights due to the altered medical records.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Prost, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.